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Academic Writing

Introduction, Supporting Paragraphs and Conclusion 


Fishing hookIntroduction. In many types of writing and especially in essays, the introduction is also known as a 'hook' paragraph because it reminds us of a hook used in fishing. The purpose of an introduction is to hook or engage your reader and to encourage them to continue reading your essay. Your introduction will state your main ideas that will be supported in your essay and will usually include your thesis statement.

Supporting Paragraphs. Supporting paragraphs are sometimes called "body paragraphs". Their purpose is to support the thesis. Each supporting paragraph will typically include a focused topic sentence or point. Your point is developed by discussing and presenting supporting evidence, reasons and examples that are designed to convince us that your thesis has merit. Each supporting paragraph typically ends with a wrap up sentence.

  • Point—State your point that supports the topic of this paragraph.

Example: Many college students have irregular or poor sleep patterns.

  • Proof—State the evidence, quoted or paraphrased, that supports your point. This can be an example, evidence from a source, statistics, etc.

Example: A study showed that "many students had later bedtimes and rise times during weekends than they did on weekdays" (Jones & Wu, 2018, p. 27). MacNeil (2017) suggested that busy schedules during the week prevented students from getting adequate sleep (p. 18).

  • Explain—Describe in detail how the proof supports your point in this paragraph and/or the thesis.

Example: Developing a regular sleep routine and bedtime are important factors that can help students to get quality sleep,reduce stress and improve cognitive performance.

Take your time developing your supporting paragraphs as they form the body of your essay and can enhance your paper. Use examples or evidence from credible secondary sources to support and illustrate your points. A basic essay has three supporting paragraphs, plus an introduction and a conclusion. However, if you want to expand on your subject, you can include more paragraphs. Always check with your professor.

Conclusion. Your concluding paragraph is your last chance to convince your reader of your main claim. Typically, your conclusion will re-state your thesis and the supporting points for the final time in a summary. This is your final opportunity to stress the importance or significance of your argument, ask questions that keep your reader thinking, or suggest further actions and next steps.

*Image source: KnowBe4

Summary video: Writing your essay [1:13]

Additional resources